Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in Mali
We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General El-Ghassim Wane for the briefing about the work of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the situation in the country.
We thank the Kenyan Presidency, as well as Niger, France, and our colleagues from the UN Secretariat for organizing a mission of the Security Council to the region. We appreciate the hospitability of Bamako and Niamey, and an open and substantial dialogue on the situation in the Sahel that we had.
Apparently, improvement of the situation in Mali, implementation of the peace agreement, eradication of terrorism, betterment of the socio-economic situation depend on internal political stability in the first place. Further perturbations triggered by struggle for power may lead the country to a deadlock.
Security Council’s contacts with the Malian transitional authorities demonstrated that the latter are interested in stabilizing the situation. There is broad dialogue engaging various social and political forces, i.a. within the Agreement’s Monitoring Committee – with a view to carrying out long overdue state reforms. Though slowly, the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration is moving forward; as well as deployment of reformed armed forces in the country’s north and discussion of measures that should help restore peace and overcome intercommunal conflicts.
Also, no one is going to reject obligations to recover constitutional order. However this must be done while taking into account the realities on the ground that have their own inherent logic and may require corresponding amendments. Of course, we would rather prefer that the elections were not rescheduled. However we realize the difficulties that Malian authorities encounter when preparing them. We agree that unless state control is reinstated, results of the vote in many areas of Mali cannot be considered reliable, while this is a straight path towards political destabilization, as was the case after the previous elections.
The security situation remains difficult. Extremists keep terrorizing the local population, attack Malian military formations, and the UN peacekeepers. Malian armed forces and MINUSMA’s Blue Helmets continue to suffer losses. Despite all controversies, it would be irresponsible to leave Mali behind in the current situation. Security stakes for Mali and the region are too high. In this regard, we assume that Malians have the right to engage with all partners that stand ready to cooperate to enhance security. Criticism of such steps is hypocritical and disrespectful towards a sovereign state.
It is imperative that Malian sides and MINUSMA continue close cooperation and coordination. We agree that measures for the adaptation of MINUSMA need to be completed as soon as possible. We support the peacekeepers’ efforts to reconcile inter-communal conflicts and protect civilians. We assume that all decisions related to the modalities of MINUSMA’s presence, including its numerical composition, must take into account the opinion of Bamako. Malians also remain vested with responsibility, because it is them who are to play the leading role in overcoming the existing difficulties.
In our approaches to the settlement in Mali, we proceed from the principle “African solutions – to the African problems”. In this context, we support the mediator efforts of ECOWAS and the African Union based on the principles of non-interference in internal affairs.
By all means, the situation in Mali constitutes a key factor of regional security. We trust that decisions made by West African countries in 2020 and 2021 and aimed at boosting counter-terrorism efforts will be translated into action. We believe the idea of the AU Commission to deploy African Standby Forces in the Sahel is worth thorough consideration.
We reiterate our readiness to interact closely with Mali and all international stakeholders in order to stabilize the situation in the country and the region at large.